When he realized the voicemail was from someone trying to scam him (and not from the tax agency, as the caller claimed) he could have simply deleted the message and left it at that.
But Kevin Underhill of London, Ontario, had other ideas: He turned the tables on the attempted scammers, and left them begging for mercy.
“I called them back the first chance I had,” Underhill told the CBC — and after that he just kept calling, with the scammers eventually pleading with him to “leave us alone.”
Scams like the one Underhill encountered are common in the United States, too. In 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said it had received reports of about 896,000 cases of criminals impersonating Internal Revenue Service officials over the phone since October 2013. Of those many scam contacts, about 5,000 Americans fell victim to phone scams and collectively lost $26.5 million as a result of the scam.
That first call Underhill made to the scam phone number confirmed, as he suspected, that it wasn’t the Canada Revenue Agency calling Underhill to warn him about irregularities with his taxes, he told the CBC. His call went straight to a human being, rather than cycling him through a series automated menus, as he would normally expect from the tax-collecting agency.
Once he had the scammer on the phone again, Underhill had some fun.